Wednesday, December 21, 2011

-REVIEW: Batman: Arkham City-
where storytime goes wrong

Title: Batman: Arkham City
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Release: $49.99 (PC, Steam, Multiplat too)

Batarangs, check. Batclaw, check. Batsuit, check. Psychopathic villains, check. Paradoxically benevolent sadomasochist ambivalent bipolar girlfriend, check. Superego-repressed narcissistic self-righteous chaotic good protagonist, checkmate

Monday, December 5, 2011

Read a Good Book: Ian Bogost's "How to Do Things with Videogames" - Ch.1 Art

We are approaching a horizon. This media we engage in is growing more quickly than we imagined. Growing out of our control.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

-REVIEW: WH40K: Space Marine-
have your cake and eat it with doo

Title: Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
Developer: Relic Games
Release: $49.99 (PC, Steam. Multiplat too.)

 Suspend disbelief? Sir, there was never any belief to begin with

Monday, November 21, 2011

This is Not the Post You're Looking For

“It’s like you know you’re in the Matrix and you’re enjoying it.” – Adam Harshberger

What should games aim to be? This is a huge question. It’s the question that looms large in some designer’s minds, driving them towards the completion of an idea or the eventual creation of a new one. It’s also a question that your average player never asks explicitly, but always implicitly. It is also the question which, when answered, determines the quality of the particular game being played.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

-REVIEW: Battlefield 3-
inertia be damned

Title: Battlefield 3
Developer: Digital Illusions CE
Release: Multiplatform $59.99 (Reviewed on PC,  with Origin)

Oh look, the kids are all grown up


Monday, November 14, 2011

Indie Cred: Bullet Time Ninja

Hey folks.

I've left you hanging for a few weeks now, but I promise I'll make it up to you. And to start, here's a little game I found on! (Click the picture to go there!)

It is what it sounds like, I promise. It's also a sweet example of a simple concept made better by fantastic level design.

Have a go and have some fun!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Indie in a Minute: DinoRubbish Megabundle - Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovskysaur IN SPACE

I've been wanting to say a little something about this game for awhile now, but haven't yet found the appropriate time, space, or words that may adequately describe it.

But the truth is there are no words that can. And there never will be. Not necessarily because the game is impossibly amazing and words can't actually suffice, but for a rather different reason. Honestly, there's a feeling that's been seriously nagging at me for the past few days that sounds like pure madness, but is of course perfectly logical: why do we keep writing about games?

Monday, October 31, 2011

-REVIEW: Metro 2033-
a light in the darkness

Metro 2033
Developer: 4A Games
Release: $19.99 (PC, Steam)

Fear the future because let’s be honest, you don’t know how to shoot a gun

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Attack of the Killer Indie Bundles

News has been floating around lately since the launch of Indie Royale, a new digital distribution site with a novel, but familiar way of doing business.

They sell indie games in bundles for one low, low price!

Not unlike the phenomenally successful Humble Bundle (that now grace the internet 1-2 times per year), Indie Royale is a great venue for indie developers to get exposure (and sales). But at the same time, this apparent copy-catting feels a bit strange, doesn't it? What exactly is the difference between this and the venerable humbleable bundelable?

Let's examine the differences:

The Humble Bundle is a charitable venture that promotes indie games with its primary intent being fundraising. While it's backed and managed by a singular indie developer, it's scope is wide and decidedly not game-oriented. It aims to give consumers and creators alike a way to contribute to the needy via charities like EFF (An advocacy group for electronic media and art) and Child's Play (a program that takes donations of video games (and paraphernalia, and cash!) as a means to aid needy kids). It's not purely a business per se, but its recent success has catapulted it into both financial solvency as well as cultural popularity. The Humble Bundle is about games, but not really about games.

Indie Royale is a joint venture between The Indie Games Blog (part of the press group owned by Gamasutra) and Desura (a well-known digital distribution business). It's about games! It's about indie games, more specifically. Their aim is to promote and sell indie games that have been vetted by themselves and other notables. It's clearly subjective, but if you've spent some time on either of these sites, you'll see that they're very well tread (and it's never easy to stay humble when promoting oneself!). It appears that Indie Royale's primary intent is simply about selling games, and they do it by offering bundles every 2 weeks at low, low prices. There's a tiny twist: the price of the bundle starts at a certain price, and then will change based on what people are paying for it. For every person who pays the listed price (known as the "minimum"), the price goes up by 1-2 cents. For every person who "beats the minimum" (by a reasonable amount, approximately 2x the minimum) the price goes down 1-2 cents. Interesting!

I'd say it's worth checking out. The launch bundle includes quite a few well-reviewed games for around $5. While it isn't necessary charitable, I think it's a great way to support your favorite indie devs, as well as get exposed to some new ones. It's got a good model running too, since their releases are far more frequent (and more financially sound) than the Humble Bundle.

Take a look, and share your thoughts!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

-REVIEW: Dungeons of Dredmor-
babby's first roguelike

Title: Dungeons of Dredmor
Developer: Gaslamp Games

Release: $4.99 (PC, Steam)

No, YOUR father was an impotent side of half-baked ham sandwich

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

-REVIEW: Bastion-
no longer a stranger

Developer: Supergiant Games
Release: $14.99 (PC, XBLA)

I’m no stranger to storytelling by strangers, but this is stranger still

Monday, October 17, 2011

Indie Cred: Indieviewed

Yes! It’s Indie Cred! It’s Monday! This is the best thing ever! I am totally not assuming things for you! And what’s even better is that I have some bona fide exclusive content for you, my dear readers, of which no other part of the web has or ever will have (OR ELSE). By some great magic of the internet, internal combustion engines, and government-funded municipal services I went and had a meatbag-to-meatbag meetup with an authentic, basement-having, ramen-eating, code-writing indie dev. And what a meetup it was!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

-REVIEW: Demolition, Inc.-
a puzzley kaboom

Demolition, Inc
Developer: Zero Scale Development
Release: $9.99 (PC, Steam)

Aliens care more about this planet than you do! Also, they care more about this planet than they do you

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Problem with Bulletstorm

Bulletstorm, the collaboration between Polish and American manshoot veterans People can Fly and Epic Games, was a game about shooters. It was a testosterone-fueled hyperbolic self-aggrandizement at the self-deprecating expense of its more "serious" contemporaries. Unfortunately, it wasn't able to deprecate off any of their astronomical sales. In this article, I speculate as to why. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

-REVIEW: Men of War: Assault Squad-
third time’s a charm

Men of War: Assault Squad
Developer: Digitalmindsoft
Price: $34.99

War! Guns! Vehicles! Direct Control! Tedium! Excitement! Sequels! Cyclical nature of life!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

-REVIEW: The Binding of Isaac-
frankenstein's ghost

The Binding of Isaac
Developer: Edmund McMillen and Florian Himsl
Release: $4.99 (PC, Steam)

Getting everything wrong for the sake of being right

Sunday, October 2, 2011

-REVIEW: Blocks That Matter-
all good things come in boxes

Blocks That
Developer: Swing Swing Submarine
Release: $4.99 (PC, Steam)

Creator of the single most disturbing audio/visual feedback element known to man

Saturday, October 1, 2011

-REVIEW: NyxQuest-
yet another greek puzzle game

Developer: Over the Top Games
Release: $9.99 (PC, Steam)

Inadvertent suicide is the solution to all your questing problems

Friday, September 30, 2011

-REVIEW: PAM: Post-Apocalyptic Mayhem-
Pam, you've got some serious issues

PAM: Post-Apocaplyptic Mayhem
Developer: Steel Monkeys
Price: $9.99 (PC, Steam)

My god, I JUST finished putting this thing back together! What a piece of S*!#


Thursday, September 29, 2011

-REVIEW: Tobe's Vertical Adventure-
treasure hunting is dangerous business

Tobe’s Vertical Adventure
Developer: Secret Base
Price: $4.99 (PC, Steam)

Dear boy, why won’t you listen to me?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Indie Cred: Because it's Monday

Alright. It's monday. I'm working on like 3 articles right now and none of them are ready to publish. But that doesn't matter because I've actually spent the last 2 hours playing this game.


Play it, and be glad.

Friday, September 23, 2011

per aspera ad astra: The Birth of the New Philosophers

I never intended this blog to be anything more than a repository for game reviews. Clearly, it’s spiraled out of control and landed in a no-man’s land of lead-hounding news-chasery that often leaves me feeling physically and emotionally drained and burdens my blog with an unbearable lightness. But what little integrity I have left after all this divestitude still begs me to come back time and time again to my own thoughts and my own ideas as opposed to letting my inhibitions limply tumble aside in the face of the cancerous metastasization of my muckraking pseudojournalism.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

So Totally Out of It

Man, I feel like I've been sucked into a time vortex.

You know how there are those days that just swoop by so quickly that you don't realize that time is passing by and before you know it you've been wearing the same clothes for the past week and you don't seem to know anything anymore? I just read the Steam news stream. READ it. PERUSED it. And came away informed. INFORMED!

Normally I pride myself on being at the forefront of updates, both great and insignificant, but this past week I find myself knowing absolutely nothing. Sengoku came out? Darksiders was on sale? Indie Game releases on Steam left and right? Paradox making a huge publishing push? I'm so out of it.

So, dear readers, catch me up! What have I missed? I feel like I've come back from a forced vacation from a job I love and all my coworkers have found new friends and started new projects while I was gone. I want the news, man. I want to dive back into the slow roll of the waves and the interminable jumble of information and projects that are rolling down that magnificent pipeline. Twitter's been good to me, but it's a mere pinky in the foam of the rushing river compared to what I used to have. Catch me up.

As for what I have been doing and what's been keeping me from all this, well, that's a story that will soon be told. I'm pretty sure it won't disappoint.


Thanks all!

and by the by...

Commenters on this post will be eligible to win the OnLive copy of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, like I promised so long ago. I have not forgotten!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

-REVIEW: Rock Of Ages-
killer curves and a fiery red heat

Title: Rock of Ages
Developer: ACE Team
Publisher: Atlus USA, Inc.
Price: $9.99 on Steam

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, rolling to time’s destiny / while I draw this fleeting breath, when thy rocks may smash to death / Rock of Ages, cleft for me, still I find no time for thee

Friday, September 9, 2011

Couriers in the Machine: Using Piracy to lower distribution costs

Hey there!

So either I've been dead or in a coma or something, because This thing hasn't been updated in 2 weeks. I am neither, BUT I am something which is preventing me from updating on a regular basis. Is it a super-secret relaunch and redesign? Is it a crazy blog import to a more accessible platform like Wordpress? Is it death or a coma?

Anyway, I ran across this little article on Games For Change, a blog and group I follow for news on how games are being used in novel and prosocial ways in the world at large. After all, the great US of A, for all our great gaming wiles, is not the be-all-end-all of the industry. In fact, not truer words could be spoken if I were to speak of how perpetuating the industry requires an investment in the world market. And not just in terms of entertainment, but in terms of betterment. I think this is where all man-made industries should do their best to end up in, regardless of whatever evil forces may attempt to skew them for evil's gain.

More on the point, this article is particularly interesting because it deals in markets hitherto undealt with, and as such written off as potential markets. These areas are ridden with piracy and deregulated transactions. Beyond that, the people within these systems are accustomed to piracy and could care less about its Detrimental Effect on the Western Free Market Transactionary Model (DEWFMTM). Instead of gnashing their teeth as the collective dewfties have been doing, these intrepid entrepreneurs (Intrepreneurs?) have decided to use this DEWFMTM to their advantage. An excerpt of interest:

"We are aware of other companies that have created new game cartridges for the Indian market, only to have them pirated within 6 months. But because our main priority is distributing educational resources,  we’ll actually be taking a loss on every cartridge that we sell to the wholesalers. So we would be thrilled to find out that our games have been pirated– it would just be lowering our distribution costs."

Impressive! And a cool idea no doubt. While it is a bit sad to think that they admit to operating at a loss, it's a pretty admirable attempt at doing something with piracy as opposed to just fighting this inevitable tide of newness like all those other jerks are. Granted, non-profit marketing definitely has different goals than for-profit corporations, but it's this kind of thinking that gets me excited about what can be done with things that seem to have already been set in stone.

Read the rest through the link and share your thoughts!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

-REVIEW: Deus Ex: Human Revolution-
a lot like chicken miso noodle soup

Title: Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Developer: Square Enix Eidos
Release: Aug 2011 $49.99 (PC) $59.99 (X360, PS3)

Adam Jensen, part man, part machine. Problem-solver, gun-shooter, sweet-talker. Machine part: responsible for problem-solving, gun-shooting, and sweet-talking. Man part: wait, what? Shit.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Indie Cred: Me, Myself, and An East Coast Hurricane

It's monday again, and once again we're desperately searching for ways to cling to those lost hours of days gone by. As we lament the loss of our weekends and our free time to soul-sucking immerso-gaming, looking disdainfully and regretfully on those 5 hours spent watching 2 1-hour cutscenes and completing 2% of a game, we wonder to ourselves, "what accursed devil-man would be so cruel as to create something so engrossing that would deign to infringe on my time so surreptitiously? What manner of beast does such a thing, what mind of malevolence and spite would wish such abyssal weights upon common beings such as we? Curse the gods. CURSE WHAT GODS HAVE MADE SUCH MEN."
Well, I don't think these titles will do you any better, addict.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

No More Swaddling - Deus Ex: Human Revolution Impressions

So while everyone else is basking the glory of this game via their wretched digital distribution outlets which is making me feel like an increasingly large idiot for presuming to feel fantastic about getting this title for slightly fewer bucks than those wretched cyberpunks via an online-only brick-n-mortar retailer, I sit here now free of my dissatisfaction and reaffirmed in my acquisitory wisdom: I have received two copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution for the price of one.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

super.hype: Dog Day DRM

DRM is a sensitive topic for most gamers. It’s also one that’s relatively unique to the medium. Aside from the obligatory hubbub that music moguls and film buffs have made in order to obviate the claims of audio-visual pirates, the only place where DRM has adversely affected the consumer moreso than the creators and publishers is in the realm of video games. It’s restrictive, intrusive, and often downright tyrannical, forcing many unnecessary and difficult hurdles that must be overcome in order to enjoy a legitimately purchased product. But it’s practically a necessary evil; in order to overcome the amoralistic ingenuity of the giant anonymous blob that is the internet, DRM seems to be the only method to obtain at least a modicum of proven sales for distributors and publishers. The controversy yet rages…

Monday, August 22, 2011

Indie Cred: Ludum's Daring Escapes

The world moves so slowly sometimes. It's during those times when I get all mopey and melancholic about life and its plodding pace, but it's also time for me to be contemplative and reflective about my purpose in life and its meaning.

This weekend was an all balls-out no-nonsense time-flies exploding-pants kind of weekend though, so none of that stuff happened.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

life makes pushers of us all

Developer: Krystian Majewski
Release: $6.99 on Steam, $5 Direct from Developer

A tragedy in more ways than one

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Hammerfight Diaries

In the fall of 2009, archaeologists uncovered the ruins of an ancient civilization. Study of these artifacts revealed that this civilization was unlike any of those previously uncovered. It was as if this people had diverged from the known timeline and developed their own language, culture, and technology far beyond that of any people of that time. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

super.hype: Paved with Good Intentions

Technology changes the way we do things. Aside from its effects on the retail model or its ability to provide user-generated content back to the community, it also means more avenues by which a creator can push content/advertising to her audience. But technology, as an ephemeral maiden, also maintains a strange anonymity which can be taken advantage of, basically short-circuiting our ability to decipher what is genuine and what is not. Those most able to utilize this strangeness thereby advance their ideas, products, and services without stirring up the latent distaste for manipulation our culture has acquired over the years. In other words, he who hides his intentions best, wins.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Art Games: The False Contradiction

I’ve been playing Hammerfight like crazy lately. Most of the game is mediocre, but the combat is ah…well, it’s transcendental. One of the guys over at Wolfire Games did a little analysis of it that captures the whole mechanic perfectly.  It’s innovative, effective, and above all fun. But, that’s not what really got me thinking today.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

-REVIEW: Alpha Protocol-
because we all need some dating advice, sometimes

Title: Alpha Protocol
Developer: Obsidian
Publisher: SEGA of America
Price: $19.99 on Steam

I’m looking for missiles, have you seen any? No? Okay, thanks. I’m looking for missiles, have you seen any? Shut up, you’re stupid. Wow, rude. I’m looking for missiles, you’re going to tell me or die. No? Okay, sorry. I’m looking for missiles, where is your leader? Wait, don’t shoot, I’m sexy! I’m looking for missiles…

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

super.hype: Part of a Balanced Breakfast

Ever think that maybe you’re missing out on something great while doing something else that’s also great? I mean, there’s only so much time in the day. How does one get about doing all those cool things that everyone seems to talk about all the time and that you’ve never heard of? Why is everyone so cool, except for you?

For the sake of landing softly (it's over!)

Hi everybody!

So I was trying to run a contest for TRAUMA. It's an interesting art game with an excellent execution. I would like people to experience it, I'd also like the developers to be rewarded for their hard work.

So I'm GIVING COPIES AWAY! On Steam, at least. For those of you feeling spendy, you can buy it directly from the developer here.

So this post is basically a place to run the contest. Rules: post a comment about yourself, a question for me (which I WILL attempt to answer), or a game you enjoy (and say why, perhaps). You may also choose to say something about games being art, or art being games, or games ARE art because they are culture, or being contained in culture makes EVERYTHING art, or how art is subjective and people are annoyingly promoting their own agendas through art rather than being objective and saying that everything everyone creates is simultaneously, equally crappy and awesome

All commenters will be eligible to win one of 3 copies of TRAUMA. Additional comments don't increase your chances of winning.

Good luck!

UPDATE: Hello there!

So since so few of you decided to follow through, I'm going to just give each of you a copy of the game (5 copies total) for being so perseverant! And then we can talk about the game and yadda yadda yadda. How about that!

Add me on steam: sonicblastoise. To claim your copy. those people who I already have will be receiving one shortly. 

Thanks for playing :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Indie Cred: The kitty who became an axe murderer. The axe murderer who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor.

Swords clang, men cry, and the sounds of battle resonate across the landscape. The cacophony of war and strife saturates the earth as the gods themselves weep at the destruction and death of their people. A lone warrior rises from the devastation to reconcile the destruction, pursuant to a quest and the collection of many mystical sacred items. And a big gun.

Hey! It's A Game with a Kitty 3! So cute!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Troubling Trends: Signs of the Decline of Gaming
By James "Caffeine Rage" McKinley

It's amazing just how much games have changed and evolved in my lifetime. I've seen the rise and fall of gaming empires, the progression of graphics from 2D to 3D, and the rise of online play, among many other things. But, for all the advancements that I have witnessed, I've recently noticed some rather disturbing trends in the modern gaming industry. Trends that we cannot allow to continue; that we must respond to before they grow out of control.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Pirates, Players, and Meat

I just ran across this great interview and follow-up that IGN conducted with the guys from Team Meat (Super Meat Boy, Binding of Isaac). It brings up some really interesting perspectives and food for thought on the ever-controversial topic of Piracy.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Something, something: Paul Hubans

I can’t say enough about independent development. This really applies to every kind of small business in any industry, but games developers tend to be much more accessible and amiable due to their tech-savvy. In this case, the separation via computers actually improves the communication and increases the strength of the connection versus other areas. It’s really a great dynamic that I’ve always been dying to take advantage of.

Luckily for me, I did that very thing this past week.I braved the perilous caves of indie development to bring you a timely and insightful interview* with one of the eminent members of the indie enclave TIGSource: Paul Hubans!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A snag

Hi everybody,

I've hit a serious block in terms of writing for the past few days. Granted, updating 3 or 4 times a week is a lot, but I guess I just don't LIKE IT when I feel like I can't write.

So...not liking it right now. Though, I do have a review pending for Alpha Protocol. An unfortunate gem, I'd call it.

The truth is is that I'm going through a really major period of transition right now and I really don't know what the future of this blog will be. So for the first time since I started posting 100% gaming-related material on this blog, prepare yourselves for:

Starring "the me in team"

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

super.hype: On the Brink – A Case Study in Failed Expectation Management

Please excuse me as I feebly attempt to distance myself from my usual super.hype format for this week. Instead, I’ll be discussing an aspect of AAA games that I believe goes a long way towards clarifying the reasons for the perceived stigmas, and hopefully goes further by questioning whether or not those stigmas are fair.

At the same time, I feel like an analysis like this is well within the confines of a feature that deigns to be called super.hype, but since it is different, I’m playing it safe.

At least for now. Commence!

Brink – What You Know Can and Will Hurt You

Monday, August 1, 2011

Indie Cred: Outsourced!

Hey everybody.

I was a bit afraid about posting today because I was intending to have something prepared (like, PREPARED) and something interesting and insightful, but I wasn't able to get it completely ready for today. So then I was thinking:


Thursday, July 28, 2011

-REVIEW- Dawn of War II: Retribution
slightly more satisfying than foie gras gavage

Title: Warmhammer 40k Dawn of War II: Retribution
Developer: Relic Games
Publisher: THQ
Price: $29.99 on Steam

After all this yelling it’s a wonder anyone has any voice left at all

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Importance of Indie Games
By James "Caffeine Rage" McKinley

The gaming industry is facing a great change. With the advent of easy-to-use digital distribution on both consoles and PC, a generation of programmers who grew up playing video games, the rise of alternate advertising, and an explosion of niche gaming websites, the creative and innovative forces behind the advancement of the industry is slowly leaving the hands of the triple-A developers. Taking their place are many small, independent companies producing a great assortment of unique and ground breaking titles. This shift has made these small companies one of the most important facets of the industry.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

super.hype: The Last Summer of Your Natural Life

Things are moving along at a rather nice clip for me lately (after having had some real major exposure to the soft, gleaming underbelly of indie game development) and it's left me feeling rather sentimental for the old days when games weren't about horsepower or graphical fidelity, but pure imagination.

Luckily for me, the internet is so good at keeping the purity of those things separate from what I'm about to show you today: pure, unfiltered AAA hypenard.


What you lack in speed, skill, and stature,
you try to make up for in super.hype.
Tonight at the bar, an opportunity arises...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Indie Cred: Pour a little Konjak on that Fire, and Dance in the Light with a Fat Wizard in a Beret

I don't know what you've come to expect from me in this feature anymore, but I do know what I've come to expect of myself: quality games from quality people, at a quality price (most often free).

Time and again I've said that Independent development is some kind of anomaly in the gaming world. I'm now convinced it's not. It's the future of gaming. Just like fast food restaurants used to be anomalies and we never believed we'd ever outsource our homestyle cooking to various individuals on a large scale, so too will this industry, the interactive gaming industry, be redefined not by enormous companies and unwieldy multi-armed corporations, but by the tenacity and innovation of many small teams all fighting for a piece of the pie. But while this fierce competition often produces fear, hate, and exploitation, I think that the gaming version will play out far differently.

If you spend a bit of time on any of the following sites where Indie Devs like to poke about and present their half-finished ideas and undiluted madness, you'll see that by and large, most of them are simply passionate about making games (in a distant second: making money). But it's the games that really drive every single one of them on. What results is a commitment to the qualities of a good game: Fun, thoughtful, and easy to learn. It's no wonder that while few, if any, of these games turn a profit, their creators remain dedicated to the art of making games. They simply love them.

And this is what love makes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

-REVIEW-: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
still only good for buoyancy, and not much else

Title: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square Enix/Eidos Interactive
Release/Price: $14.99 (via Steam)

If it ain’t broke, don’t throw any spears at it, it will break

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

super.hype: In Which I Attempt to Deny Ambiguity

I've been doing a lot of thinking to do ever since The Great Indie Games Jam Weekend ended. What direction is this blog going in? What can readers expect from me each time I post? What kind of material do I want to read about, write about, and talk about? WHAT KIND OF A PERSON AM I?

All these thoughtful, deep, existential crises arise whenever I feel like I have too much to do and too little time to do it. Also, I am rather prone to fits of philosophical paralysis. The greatest hurt of all is the impassioned, amorous guilt I have for not highlighting all the amazing work and ideas that have been coming out of the Indie Development scene, which is being fought back by the indefatigable hammer-arm of my appreciation for Traditional Big-Time Development.

Each of these industries has its strengths and weaknesses; each is valuable in its own right. So, in the interest of being unbiased and well-rounded, I will continue to use this feature as a way to infuse some well-meaning (if misguided and at times not well-meaning at all) AAA-ness into this blog and into my own gaming habits. Even if my gut of guts churns at the thought of enjoying a title built upon the detritus of crushed souls under the 20-tonne iron will of slavering publishers, my heart of hearts knows that I cannot be considered an honest man if I do not give these games a fair shake and an honest first impression.


Your girlfriend's cat was playing with a bag of Jelly Bellies™ and spilled some under your pleather couch.
You mutter cursed feline obscenities under your breath as you reach for that cumbersome grasping device called a super.hype...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Indie Cred:The Pegs and TIGs all Jammed together

If you haven't played this game yet, you are actually dead.
I'll be honest, this feature is quickly becoming my favorite. Everytime I wade out to the deep waters of the webternet, I come back with more and more awesomely ridiculous things that I want people to know about and experience. Things like this. And this. And this. And this!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Read a Good Book: This Gaming Life - Chapter 3: a Gamer’s World

Ever since I started played games (that would be starting in the 90s, on an NES, to a SNES, and finally to my sedentary state on the PC) I viewed them as a very isolated experience. Video games were not social. I am only speaking for myself here, but I don’t think I’m entirely alone. Even now video games are still a very isolating experience; whether in singleplayer or multiplayer games, the perspective and the experience of the person controlling a given avatar is highly insular. It’s less so in online multiplayer games, but I think that even then, I’ve found myself simply playing alone. And enjoying it.

Traditional Gaming is what this is all about. It’s very self-interested. Much of the time, games are focused around providing tight, content-based experiences: moments where the player interacts with dynamic inanimate objects and set pieces that are designed to elicit specific emotions.  But this type of design philosophy (and expectation) is a reflection of the culture, and subsequently the culture’s perspective of games and the industry. But there is a powerful antithesis to this predominant industry philosophy: the Korean Gaming Scene.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Indie Bonus: Incubattle

Good news everyone!

Paul Veer (Vlambeer) and Infinite Ammo teamed up to pump out a promotional game for rock band Incubus' next album. I'm not privy to the details of the album, nor do I care much for their music (the last song I listened to intently from them was "Pardon Me" because I was enthralled by a particular music video), but the game itself is pretty sweet.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Forum Trawl: MCV interviews 2K

UK-based Industry webmag MCV (The Market for Computer & Video Games) recently had an interview with "2K Boss" Christoph Hartmann about a few upcoming projects. While not entirely bland and market-speaky, a few choice words were elicited from the dev. I quote:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

super.hype: the day PopCap stood still

Things are getting seriously shaken up amongst gamesjournos today. EA made the announcement of their acquisition of the Pachinko-cloning, Columns-riffing, Tetris-copying, puzzle-game-peddling PopCap Games public today. Price: 750 million notes of US gold claimancy. Impressive.

Let's hope the charm isn't eaten like a delicious, cold brain platter.

In other news, nothing. This single news item has apparently trumped all other games industry news. Either that or I am a complete liar and I feel that this move may be so monumental that I will lie to you just to impress upon you the importance of an event like this. I would never do that.

Knowing full well of your intentions
to ask the amply-endowed Dolly
to prom, your best friend decides to cock-block
you by asking her to a surprise romantic dinner date. 
You grab the keys to your turbocharged
V8 super.hype to intercept them... 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Indie Cred: Momodora 2

Title: Momodora 2
Developer: Rdein
Release: get it here

 Brown-haired maiden, slice
 and leaves do cradle your jump
 maple leaf, so sharp


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Soma Drop: Settlers 2

Title: Settlers II: Veni, Vidi, Vici
Developer: Blue Byte
Publisher: Blue Byte
Release: August 1996 (get it here!)

The greatest screensaver ever created!


Friday, July 8, 2011

-REVIEW- Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale:
a pure crystal of wasted potential

Title: Dungeons and Dragons: Daggerdale
Developer: Bedlam games
Publisher: Atari
Price: $14.99 (via Steam and other digital distribution)

Don’t doubt the daring doublets deprecating this dastardly derision of Dungeons and Dragons. It’s decidedly dumb, dubiously diverting, and dangerously dull. Don’t. Just don’t.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

state of the industry, part v: Piracy

This will be the last entry in the long ongoing series about the issues that I believe have been detrimental to the media and industry of video games at large. It’s been a rough road, full of potholes and pitfalls, at times feeling aimless and disjointed, while at the same time proving to be accurate and insightful. I hope this last one is more of the latter and less of the former.

To ensure that that happens, I’ve kindly deferred to a good man far better and more capable than I at deciphering and researching the kind of material required to make any kind of sense of this particular issue. It’s been a decidedly divisive, deeply personal, and morally-charged topic for a long time now, and has its roots far beyond the video game industry. However, its prevalence here combined with what I believe is the pervasive passion of those who enjoy video games has caused it to explode into an epic conflagration of distractive arguments, hearsay, half-truths, and rampant speculation. Of course, amidst all the madness lies some truth, and that’s exactly what we’re going to try to find in this post.

Piracy. You may have done it. You may have had friends (or have friends) who have done it. You may still do it. I’ll admit that I’ve done it. But what exactly “it” is that we are doing when we engage in piracy is constantly thrown into question by those who do it, and more or less regarded as cut-and-dry by those who don’t. So for the sake of sanity and fairness, we’re going to try to figure this whole mess out.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

super.hype: jumping through hoops for little to no reward

It's another super.hype! On a more serious note, this particular feature is getting rather tedious. I hate the format and it's a really unnatural way of talking about upcoming releases. So I'm scrapping it for some other way that I feel more comfortable with which is basically posting about whatever happens to catch my eye and writing about it rather whimsically while interspersing it with glorious pictures. Yay!

I like the name, though, so I'm keeping that. Also, I like being able to anthropormophize and/or objectivize it and use it in punny ways. I love puns!

The neighbor's weimaraner  left another
huge steaming pile on your impeccably kept lawn.
You calmly rifle through your storage crate
and retrieve your trusty super.hype...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Indie Cred: Celestial Mechanica (Also, Happy Independence Day!)

The rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air…it must be time for another Indie Cred!
Woo! Is this too much? NO. It's missing burgers.
 Okay so, before that I gotta say that this past weekend has been ridiculously hectic. I haven’t even looked at my blog (much less posted anything) and apparently everyone who reads it is aware of that (hits are down 70%! Which is like 50. 50 is 70% of what exactly? I don’t know. Well, I mean I could know but I don’t care to know. It’s too early in the week for maths.) I was busy playing music and listening to people preach about God and the Devil and Post-Modernism vs. Classicalism and the existence of supernatural phenomena or the speculation about the visible universe being some sort of a surface dimension resting upon a deeper 4th dimension of ultradepth and the universal gravitational constants causing bending in light. And speaking in tongues. These are all super interesting things. Almost as interesting as video games (at times even MORE interesting! Blasphemy. Well, saying video games is more interesting than these things may be actual Blasphemy. Fine then. Inverse Blasphemy! INVERSPHEMY!)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Read a Good Book: This Gaming Life - Chapter 2: The Big Smoke

It hasn’t been too long since video games turned into the cool thing to do. Those of us who remember when any mention of interest in video games was an automatic mark against one’s coolness (and the resultant effort to suppress those disclosures) know that it wasn’t always cool to love anything that smacked of “video games.” Chessmaster 3000. King’s Quest. Doom. These are the badges of honor we wear proudly now, willingly stomping about our circles in the dust, dropping these names to lay claim to our place in gaming history. But the truth is that few of us ever had the courage or peer group to do so when these games actually came out. But that’s changed.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

super.hype: Unnecessary Litigation Edition 2011 - Brown vs. EMA: California's Ultrabattle Against Ultraviolence

It's been a banner week for videogames. Not only has the PC gaming scene been inundated with new, quality independent releases, it's even won page space on a number of non-video game related news outlets. Why? Well, for those of you living under rocks, a recent Supreme Court ruling deemed a stubborn California law, one that has long caused retailers and developers alike a fair share of grief, unconstitutional. Now, sale of "ultraviolent" video games to minors, though still regulated by the ESRB and retailers themselves, is no longer illegal. (full decision can be found here)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Indie Cred: PROUN

Title: PROUN
Developer:  Joost van Dongen
Release: June 2011
Price: $0-∞ (pay what you want, here)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Soma Drop: Wonder Project J

Title:  Wonder Project J
Developer: Enix (designed by Takashi Yoneda)
Release: December 1994
Platform: Super Nintendo Entertainment System

The point at which the phrase “video games are like my children” stops being a hyperbole


Friday, June 24, 2011

-REVIEW: Mount and Blade: With Fire and Sword-
another example of words fixing nothing

Title: Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword 
Developer: Snowberry Connection, Sich Studio, TaleWorlds, CD Projekt
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Release: May 2011 (PC)
Price: $14.99

Experience the world-changing effects of gunpowder weapons on medieval warfare in unbelievably frustrating detail


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Read a Good Book: This Gaming Life – Chapter 1: How Games Make Gamers

Welcome to the first installment of “Read a Good Book”, a feature in which we’ll be traveling through a hopefully respectable volume (or at least, a well-reviewed one), gleaning what we may from its faceless, soundless text, and trying to make sense of it all in the “real world”.

I like text a lot, because it takes a special kind of finesse to make it effective. Text is often only read and never heard, seen but never “watched”. The benefit is that it requires a degree of engagement to experience, but therein lies its biggest obstacle too: nowadays people just don’t care enough (or are simply too busy) for such an engaging endeavor.

But you, my fair readers, are stupendously different. You are thoughtful, engaged, critical, and patient, people who enjoy wrestling with meanings and questioning ideas. Right? Right? Right!

The first book to grace this written page then is Jim Rossignol’s This Gaming Life.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Indie Cred: David K. Newton's Crystal Towers 2

Hello everybody!

I’m interrupting your regularly scheduled Indie Cred with a few quick special announcements.
Along with my recent foray into “books about games”, I’ve become privy to the idea of “games about life”, an area of game development that has naturally occurred to fill the obvious philosophical and metaphysical need of many gamers. This area was once spearheaded by a small band of developers who formed the serious games initiative. Although their time has apparently come and gone (the original website is rather dead), their awareness and goals spawned a number of like-minded projects such as Social Impact Games and Games for Change.

These sites continue the vision and idea that games can be more than just entertainment devices; they can be used to transmit and teach ethics, encourage prosocial behavior, and raise awareness for special causes. Even Al Gore seems to think so.

Personally, I think it’s true that games can be used for things other than entertainment, and I think that doing so goes a long way to promote the legitimacy of games as a valid form of art and culture. Much like other forms of culture (music, painting, creative text), it has the ability to offer the world more than just entertainment value. Of course, I think it’s important that even if the intent of these games is not entertainment, they should still be “good” games (like how movies shouldn’t be judged simply on their subject matter, but also on the quality of their production and cinematography).

As such, independent developers tend to have more freedom in choosing their content and delivery, and thereby becomes the perfect breeding ground for these kinds of games. So it’s relevant! In short, take a look, keep an open mind, and be prepared for something delightfully different!

We now return you to your regular programming.

Title: Crystal Towers 2
Developer: David K Newton
Released: May 2011

It’s like that story about that goose that lays golden eggs, but it’s more realistic because it makes you endure scraping off all that goose poop before you get to the gold part

Friday, June 17, 2011

Read a Good Book: This Gaming Life

Hey everybody. Before I start, I just want to say that the Evanston, Illinois is great. It's a beautiful place. If anyone actually lives in Evanston (or nearby) I would just like to say, I am extremely jealous of you.
Came for my brother's graduation. Despite his busy Au.D. curriculum, he still finds time to play Starcraft 2. That's dedication!

Okay. Onto business. The truth is that games aren't the only hobby I like to engage in (gasp!). In my spare time I also read books! A great piece of advice I've received (and subsequently offered profusely) is that "if you feel like you're in a funk, read a good book." Whatever it is that's going on in your life, whether good or bad, having a good book by your side often makes that time less lonely, more thoughtful, and generally more fulfilling than simply trying to grin and bear it. So I usually like to keep a good book on hand wherever I go.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

super.hype: week 23 - E3 2011 Hangover Edition

NEWS for week 23 of 2011:

New Releases:

  • MTG: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 Edition (June 15)
  • Shadows of the Damned (June 21)
  • F.E.A.R 3 (June 21)
  • Dungeon Siege III (June 21)
  •  Arma II: Reinforcements (Expansion Pack) (June 21)
  • Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising ( June 21)
  • Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (June 19)

Taco Tuesday nearly killed you this week, 
but you were saved by the amazing 
adsorptive properties 
of the following super.hype

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Indie Cred: Questling

Title: Questling
Developer: Flyboy
Platform: PC
Release: you can find it here!

This is like that game where you start off extremely confident, but then realize you’re in way over your head as hundreds of thousands of people begin to die because of your choices. What was the name of that game? Oh right, “World of Warcraft”

Monday, June 13, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

-REVIEW: Splinter Cell: Conviction-
in brightest day, in blackest night, BOOM headshot

Title: Splinter Cell: Conviction
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Released: April 2010 for PC, X360
Price: $19.99 (Steam) $29.99 (X360)

It’ll make you wish you had a dad like Sam Fisher. Or were a dad like Sam Fisher. It’ll make you wish you were your dad if he were Sam Fisher.
I feel sorry for your dad.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Soma Drop: Fallout

Title: Fallout
Developer: Black Isle Studios
Publisher: Interplay
Release: 1997 (you can now find it on GOG)

 In a world with no hope, you are asked to find water. Goddamnit, where are these people's priorities

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Indie Cred Follow-up: QCF Design's Desktop Dungeons, in 3D!

Hey guys. It being E3 week and all, strange things are bound to bound around. This is one of them. Also, this game is available to play online during the entirety of E3, and can be found here!

Our favorite bite-sized roguelike, Desktop Dungeons, has gone mainstream! If you can't see the picture or just want a text description of what's going on here:
  • It uses the Unity Engine now. This is a browser-based platform that allows for some pretty fancy-pants effects not available in other platforms like flash and html5.
  • It seems to have a full-blown menu and start screen. While cluttered, it looks like there are a lot more options to the game besides characters and game modes.
  • Is there now more "game" to the game? Keep reading to find out.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

the state of the industry, part IV: Design

You can probably tell by now I’m not an expert at anything concerning games. I’m just a regular guy who really enjoys them. Still, like any regular guy, I’m allowed to have opinions, passions, and curiosities that may drive me to do some pretty silly things. This whole series is one of them.

I haven’t really said anything that hasn’t been said before. I also haven’t said anything that hasn’t already been done before. With these two things in mind, it’s understandable then that a regular guy like me would get frustrated at the clear lack of thoughtfulness that goes into the execution of so many games. But that’s unfair. We all know that just because quality information (and products) exists, it doesn’t mean that all products will be produced with quality. It’s like how Timmy (that’d be me) takes 3 hours to do 30 derivatives while David (my brother) only takes 1. The difference isn’t in the information, it’s in the person.

Did I just say the world is full of dumb people?

Monday, June 6, 2011

super.hype: Special E3 2011 Edition!

NEWS for Week 22, 2011: it's E3 week, baby! (UPDATE: Impressions here)

E3 2011 is over! Thanks for playing along and pretending to be excited about intangible objects!

The girl of your dreams has rejected you once again. You take solace in the fact you have a soft, welcoming super.hype (E3 2011 Edition) waiting for you back home...
you pervert

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Indie Cred: Vlambeer and the Temple of Super Crate Box

Title: Super Crate Box
Developer: Vlambeer
Platform: PC
Release: 2010 (you can find it here)

The game all the kids would crowd around until they ran out of money, at which point they would start fiddling with the sticks during the demo just to feel like they were playing the game. And crates.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

-REVIEW: Frozen Synapse-
this one is all melty, did i get a broken one?

Title: Frozen Synapse
Developer: Mode 7
Platform: PC
Release: Released! Find it on Steam or Desura
Price: $24.99 (+ extra copy) (no longer $19.99 from dev, sorry :( )

It’s all jagged-rebel-X-fallout-star-alliance-com-tactical-command-tactics! TACTICS! Plus Neon Chess

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Super.hype: Week 21, 2011

NEWS and NEW RELEASES for the Week of May 31, 2011:

  • Hunted: The Demon's Forge (PC, PS3, 360) - co-op fantasy gears of war, apparently
  • Red Faction: Armageddon (PC, PS3, 360) - destroy everything in sight. only this time...wait, I said this already, didn't I?

You would bemoan the presence of a slow release week, but your complaining is interrupted by a rabid super.hype! 
En garde!